Sciarrotta Develops Homegrown Talent at Ogilvy

Joe Sciarrotta was seen as an agent of change when he joined Ogilvy & Mather here as chief creative in November 2000.

Sciarrotta has indeed put his own team in place, but he has done so largely by promoting talent from within the agency. His latest move is the promotion of Randy Sims, who becomes the sixth executive to hold a group creative director title.

Sciarrotta, 39, joined the Chicago shop at a time when it had a less than sterling creative reputation. But he said the talent was there, and he saw no need to bring in fresh blood. Of his six group creative directors, only one, Mitch Gordon, was hired from the outside. Gordon, who was previously a freelancer, now works on the Illinois Lottery and Sears accounts.

Sims, 47, will work on the Sears account, too, as well as Good Humor and Breyers ice cream. He joined Ogilvy as a creative director in 1998.

“When I joined here, my plan was to rejuvenate and renovate the staff,” Sciarrotta said. “There is great talent here, so I didn’t plan on hiring a lot of outside help.”

In addition to Sims and Gordon, the other group creative directors at the shop are Maureen Shirreff, Christine Schipke, Paul Norris and Joe Kilgore.

While each of them has responsibilities for specific accounts, Sciarrotta said he likes to promote a fluid operation so his creatives have the free dom to offer ideas on all of the shop’s businesses.

“If you work on only one thing, it limits your thinking,” Sciarrotta said. “I like a cross-pollination of my creative teams.”

Major campaigns launched under Sciarrotta’s leadership include TV and print for Dove antiperspirant and the agency’s debut for BP. On the downside, the agency lost a shootout with fellow Sears roster shop Young & Rubicam for a branding campaign last year.

Sciarrotta worked at J. Walter Thompson and DDB before founding The Leap Partnership, now known as Leapnet, in 1993. He was working on special projects with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in Chicago and San Francisco before joining Ogilvy.